Health & Wellness

Set yourself on a path to a healthy balance between your school and personal life with these wellness-related resources and supports.
Wellness Activity - Hiking
Wellness Activity - Cycling
Wellness Activity - Music
Wellness Activity - Yoga

Health & Wellness Tips

Take care of your health, both mental and physical, by incorporating some of these wellness tips into your day-to-day routine.

Many of the suggested apps and interactive resources are easy and accessible tools that can help you manage the four S's: self-care, sleep, staying healthy, and studying.

  • Self-care

    When you start to feel stressed or anxious, try implementing some of these self-care techniques into your day:

    Acknowledge how you are feeling. Do not disregard how you are feeling and push it aside. When you feel overwhelmed with student life, it can be challenging to stop and take the time to assess how you feel and whether you need time to take care of yourself.

    Do something you love. Take a bath, practice yoga, ride your bike, watch a movie with friends, read a novel for pleasure, or enjoy your favorite snack. Make a list of all the things that you like to do and take the time to indulge in doing something you love.

    Practice clearing your mind. It can be easy to let negative self-talk take over your inner dialogue when you are overwhelmed with school work, have received a bad grade, or are behind on assignments. Take the time to clear your mind from this harmful way of thinking and begin re-introducing positive thoughts.

    Talk to someone. When you are feeling overwhelmed, whether in school or in your personal life, reach out and talk to a friend or family member and allow them to help you. If you do not feel as though you have a support network you can turn to, reach out to a service on campus. The U of A offers a range of supports for students dedicated to ensuring the well-being of each student; find one that works best for you.

    Speak to a professional. If you feel as though you need to speak directly to a clinical professional, the Counselling & Clinical Services Centre offers accessible and compassionate psychological and psychiatric services to U of A students.

    Eat well-balanced meals. Fuel your mind and body with nutritious meals and snacks.

    Go outside. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, find the time to go for a walk or run outside. There is a strong connection between spending time in nature and reduced negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and indigestion.

    Manage your time effectively. What time of the day do you complete your work the most efficiently? Try to organize your day so that you complete your most difficult assignments during this time of the day in order to work more efficiently. Then focus on completing your easier assignments during a time of day when you are less motivated.

    Know when to stop. While “pulling all-nighters” is a popular phrase among university students, this severe lack of sleep actually hinders a students ability to excel academically. Students function more successfully with 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

    Practice mindfulness. Take time to journal and reflect on your day. Think of three things that you are grateful for at the end of each day.


    Apps & Interactive Resources

    Happify - how you feel matters! Whether you are feeling sad, anxious or stressed, Happify brings you effective tools and programs to help you take control of your feelings and thoughts.

    Mindshift - this app employs scientifically proven strategies for help learning to relax, be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking and use active steps to take charge of their emotions.

    Headspace - a personal meditation guide, right in your pocket.

    Welltrack - a free online self-help program for all University of Alberta students who want to learn more about coping with stress, anxiety and depression.

  • Sleep

    Averaging 7-9 hours of sleep per night helps to reduce stress, improve memory, and increase productivity. Tips for ensuring better quality sleep:

    Reduce blue light exposure. Blue light exposure closer to the time you go to bed can affect your body’s natural circadian rhythm, as it believes it is still daytime. This reduces hormones such as melatonin, which helps you relax into a deep sleep. Electronics such as phones, and computers emit large amounts of blue light. To reduce this exposure, turn your phone or laptop off 30 minutes before getting into bed.

    Switch to herbal tea. Consuming coffee too late in the day can stimulate your nervous system and stops your body from naturally relaxing at night. Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6-8 hours. As such, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3-4 pm is not recommended for a good night's sleep. If you need a warm beverage, switch to herbal tea in the evenings.

    Reduce irregular or long daytime naps. Sleeping during the day can affect your internal clock and result in difficulty falling asleep at night. Try to avoid taking long naps during the day.

    Sleep and wake at consistent times. Being consistent with the time that you are falling asleep and waking up can assist your body’s circadian rhythm in creating a pattern. This sleep pattern can assist you with sleeping more deeply as well as falling asleep more easily.


    Apps & Interactive Resources

    F.lux - this tool is designed to match the amount of light projected by the screen to the time of day it is for the viewer. The app determines when the sun is scheduled to set and adjusts your screen to a warmer hue that minimizes blue light.

    Sleepio - this program aims to help users fall asleep faster, and sleep more deeply with fewer interruptions to their sleep cycles.

    Bedtime App - use Bedtime to track your sleep on your iPhone. Set the amount of time that you want to sleep each night, and the Clock app can remind you to go to bed and sound an alarm to wake you up.

    Relax Melodies - Choose sounds and melodies to customize and mix in order to lull yourself to sleep. In addition, this app offers guided exercises with a pillow to help you achieve a deeper sleep, reduce stress and find relief from anxiety.

  • Staying Healthy

    There are many ways to stay healthy while living on campus. Tips for staying healthy include:

    Find fun in fitness. Fitting exercise into a busy student schedule can be difficult, however, the U of A has an on-campus sport and fitness centre for all students called the Van Vliet Complex. If you do not enjoy going to the gym or running on a treadmill, this facility includes a pool, skating arena, rock climbing centre as well as a weight training facility and a running track. This facility is a great opportunity to explore different activities for staying healthy on campus. Entrance into the facilities is free for all current students.

    Take a class. U of A Campus & Community Recreation offers a selection of free fitness classes including TRX, pilates, yoga, kick-boxing, zumba and many more. If you enjoy a fun community atmosphere to stay active consider signing up for one of these classes.

    Join an intramural sports team. The U of A has both competitive and recreational intramural teams in sports such as ball hockey, basketball, soccer, cricket, ultimate frisbee, and more. Joining a team is a great opportunity to meet other U of A students, practice a new skill as well as stay fit.

    Get outside. Did you know that Edmonton has the greatest amount of green space of any city in North America? Take advantage of the incredible river valley and go for a walk, run, or bike ride on one of the many public trails near the university.

    Explore ways to eat healthy. Eating a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your immune system, and improve your overall health. When living in residence or on your own for the first time, it can be difficult eating well, but there are easy ways to make adjustments to your diet. Having breakfast daily can decrease hunger throughout the day, and having pre-cut fruit and vegetables, nuts, or granola bars on hand can decrease the number of times you choose convenience foods from a vending machine or store.

    Visit a Farmers Market. The Strathcona Farmers Market as well as the U of A Farmers Market are both within walking distance of campus. These markets are a great source of fresh produce, poultry, baking and locally made goods. Spending time walking around the markets can make for a mentally and physically relaxing outing in the city.

    Consult with a Doctor. The U of A has a walk-in clinic accessible to students in you are feeling ill or have a minor injury. This clinic offers a choice between male or female doctors for routine medical examinations.

    Take advantage of Safewalk. Staying safe is a major component to health. Safewalk is a program run through the Students' Union. Two volunteers will escort you around the campus or local community after dark, providing a safe and reliable alternative to walking alone at night.


    Apps & Interactive Resources

    Nike+ Training Club - this personal trainer app lets you choose from over 100 workouts with a step-by-step guide.

    Pocket Yoga - practice yoga anytime, anywhere with this easy to use yoga app. Choose your level of difficulty and customize your own yoga flow.

    SWEAT App - choose the trainer and training style that fits you and your lifestyle. Whether you take your first step with yoga, weight-training, power lifting or high-intensity interval workouts, find a fit that works for you. Includes 28 minute dorm-room approved workouts!

    Fitness Blender - improve your body, health and mindset with these customized workout programs and meal ideas that will guide and encourage you every step of the way. The Fitness Blender programs offer free online workout videos, healthy recipes, and affordable workout plans for creating sustainable fitness results.

  • Studying

    Worried about studying for your upcoming exams? Here is a list of tips and tricks you can use to study more effectively:

    Create a to-do list. List all of the create that you need to complete for the day in order of importance and finish these tasks first. Cross the items off your list as a visual reminder of how much you have completed each day.

    Take advantage of office hours. If you do not understand something taught in class, visit your professor during their weekly office hours. Having a concept explained to you will save you valuable time, and ensure that you thoroughly understand the course material.

    Utilize university resources. The U of A offers a range of academic supports for students on campus. From the Centre for Writers to student-led support in mathematics and statistics, U of A students have a range of academic support available to them on campus. If you are struggling in a certain subject, visit the Academic Support website to find help.

    Schedule study breaks. Try working for 25 minutes, then taking a 5 minute break. Every 2 hours, take a longer break to recharge.

    Find your ideal space. Find a space on campus to study that best meets your needs. Consider if there is enough light, that the noise level is low, and that there is an outlet nearby for a laptop cord. The U of A library website has a Study Area Directory & Noise Zones webpage where you can view different study spots and determine whether they are Silent Zones, Quiet Zones or Collaborative Zones.

    Avoid time-wasting distractions. If studying with your friends is distracting, find polite ways to decline their invitations and study solo. Everyone knows how distracting social media can be, so turn your phone off or put it on silent.


    Apps & Interactive Resources

    IStudiez Pro - iStudiez is one of the most impressive scheduling apps to help you study more effectively. The app allows you to track your day-to-day study timetable, as well as exams, homework assignments, and grades. Update it with your latest assignment deadlines and you will never be late handing in an important assignment ever again. The app will alert you in good time for each item, and can even be integrated with a Google Calendar.

    Dragon Anywhere - Type with your voice using this dictation app. Whether you’re recording your own notes or setting it down to record your latest lecture, Dragon Anywhere saves the information as both an audio file and a text document, which you can also edit through various voice commands.

    StayFocusd - a Google Chrome extension that increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. You can set the dates and times that websites are blocked during the day.

    Trello - an app that helps you work with others in a team. You can use this for anything from working on a class project to planning your next vacation.

    Google Hangouts & Google Meet - a way to meet with your group from anywhere. Google Meet has a screen-sharing function that allows you to show what you are working on to the group.

    WolframAlpha - Wolfram Alpha is a calculation app for anyone whose course involves formulas and computation. Simply type in a math problem, a question, or a formula and let the app give you the answer. Wolfram Alpha will also provide you with the steps it took to get there. This allows you to maximise your learning as you go back through the problem.


Upcoming Events

Fuel for Finals

Fuel for Finals

Take a break from exam prep and drop in to take part in a variety of games and activities.

Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Time: 1—4 PM (Drop-in*)
Location: Room 4-06, Business Building

* No need to register, just pop on by.